Kei Nishikori is delighted to be part of a history-making Japanese duo at the US Open, after he and Naomi Osaka reached the respective men's and women's semi-finals at Flushing Meadows.
As a result of Osaka and Nishikori's contrasting wins on Wednesday, Japan will be represented in the last four of both singles draws at the same slam for the first time in the Open era.
Osaka cantered past an ailing Lesia Tsurenko 6-1 6-1 to open the day session on Arthur Ashe Stadium, before Nishikori avenged his 2014 final defeat to Marin Cilic in a gruelling five-setter.
"It's great to see [two Japanese players in the semis]," Nishikori - who missed last year's US Open through injury - said in a news conference.
"She [Osaka] is doing well, she has won a Masters [title in Indian Wells]. I think she can win the title now, even though it's a grand slam. I feel it's a big chance for her.
"I'm also happy for myself too, you know, being injured last year. I'm happy to come back, [and reach the] semis. I always play good here so I hope I can keep going."
Osaka had raised smiles during her media duties when she was asked about her relationship with Nishikori and described him as "like a really big kid".
When those comments were put to Nishikori later in the day, he laughed before replying: "Well, she looks mature, but when we talk, she's also a kid."
The pair's mutual liking of video games was then discussed, but Nishikori added: "We don't play the same games. I wish we can play together the same game. Maybe in the future. We gotta talk."
Nishikori and Cilic agreed the key point of their quarter-final came when the former, trailing by a set and 4-2, reeled off four games in a row to level the match.
"I started playing better from 4-2," acknowledged Nishikori. "I tried to swing little more and play aggressive and start working better."
Cilic added: "After I got the break from 3-2 to go up to 4-2, I felt even that Kei was not into it as much. Then I lost the first two points on my service game. He came back. He started to feel that he might break me. I just gave him an opportunity to come back."
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